Since last February, the San Mateo Union High School District Board and the SMUHSD Teacher’s Association have been in a stalemate over the issue of healthcare insurance, with the District reluctant to continue paying for teachers’ healthcare. With rising insurance costs and a failing “formula” that proportionally divides the district’s budget, it seems the District Board is taking a hard-line stance, despite having $4 million more than expected.
As the year slowly dwindles down, one imminent issue hangs in the mind of every college bound senior: applications. Described as possibly one the most stressful of high school experiences, the application puts more at stake than simply a grade; it can alter ones entire future.
Four of the six varsity football home games for this season have been scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. In past years, Aragon played home games immediately after school: 3:15 p.m. in September, 3 p.m. in October, and 2:45 p.m. in November. The games started earlier as the season progressed in order to ensure enough natural light. Many students have extracurricular activities after school and thus attending the home games was not an option. The hope in changing the game time is to increase attendance to the games.
Over the years, the diversity of Aragon’s student body has spewed an outgrowth of different language courses being offered to students. Increased interest in Asian languages has recently led some to think that the Spanish department is beginning to decline. Since 2008, the number of students enrolling in Spanish has decreased by 60. The number of freshmen enrolled in Spanish has decreased severely, resulting in one less Spanish 1-2 class.
Aragon’s fall musical this year will be Curtains, a comedic murder mystery musical within a musical. “The murder-mystery genre is my favorite,” Shane Smuin says. Smuin also liked that Curtains had a very large cast of 30 people providing casting opportunities for both males and females. Another thing that made Curtains an ideal pick as a musical was that it is a relatively new musical, so very few people know the plotline. Which is perfect, of course, because it is a murder mystery.
After dropping 10 points in 2007, Aragon High School increased its Academic Performance Index (API) score by 18 points from last year. The number of sophomores who obtain a proficient score of 380 or higher on the California High School Exit Exam, and the STAR (Standardized Testing and Recording) testing scores determines the Academic Performance Index. Currently, Aragon’s API is 840, second only to Mills High School in the San Mateo Union High School District.
An unforgettable Prom and Senior Activity Day does not pay for itself. As the new school year sets in, each class is actively making efforts to find ways to raise money, so that by senior year , their class will have a great way of ending their high school career. Classes have multiple ways to fundraise, from finding sponsors to selling goods at public events like dances and food fairs and each class has made a lot of progress through these means.
Aragon is holding five dances this year with the addition of the Welcome Back Dance and the Winter Ball. Last year, the Welcome Back Dance was not held due to lack of leadership enthusiasm, despite being held in the past. Leadership Advisor Catherine Williamson says, “The Welcome Back Dance was discontinued because of attendance …, the detention policy, tardies … and maybe we didn’t get it off the ground soon enough.” The Winter Formal was not held last year because of difficulty in finding a venue large enough to host 400 to 500 students for less than $10,000.
Aragon has excellent standardized test scores, high AP exams pass rates, and dedicated students. However, when it comes to style, many believe that Aragon is inconsistent and often mediocre. Junior Dani Cutts believes that Aragon is “not really” a fashionable school. She explains that Aragon “is more focused on academics rather than fashion. Because of that, we see a lot of sweat pants and big sweat-shirts.”
Darkness shrouds the last night of October and only the light from the moon illuminates a crowded street. Thrills and chills fill up the neighbor’s house as they excitedly wait for the knocking of the door and the beaming words of “trick or treat!” Straddling the line between fall and winter, fun and fear, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition.
“Most of them are from people and places,” says freshman Emma Mamis as she held up a collection of bracelets on her wrist. “This one is from a little town in Spain,” she said, pointing to a bracelet given to her by her friend. “And this one says ‘dance’ on it because I like to dance,” she says, pointing to another. We all have that certain object we have a strong sentimental attachment to, whether it be a teddy bear, a baby blanket, a trophy, or even something completely unexpected. Many Aragon students have objects like these that they consider to an irreplaceable part of their lives and are willing to share.
Though scholarships provide great financial opportunities, they can often act as an emotional process for students as they put their full efforts into their applications. However, many of the students at Aragon do not even know about the broad range of scholarships offered to Aragon students. Whether based on academics or creative arts, scholarships that apply to different activities exist by the dozens.